5 Tips to Organize Your Day for Maximum Productivity

06/22/2015 08:40 am ET | Updated Jun 22, 2016


Whether you're the type of person that jumps out of bed before your alarm clock or the kind that doesn't officially start your day until that second cup of coffee, we can all use a little push in the morning. Follow these tips to help you make the most out of your day and achieve maximum productivity from start to finish.

1. Set up a morning ritual.

Starting your day the same way can signal to your mind it's game on and motivate you to get the ball rolling, even when you don't feel like it. Your morning ritual can be as simple as singing along to a high-energy playlist while you shower (which has been shown to increase productivity) or as intense as an early morning run (which releases dopamine, a chemical shown to motivate you). Choose an activity that puts you in a positive mindset to start off the day and one that you're able to commit to regularly.

2. Sit up straight.

If you work at a desk all day, the worst thing you can do is hunch over your computer. This position pushes your diaphragm against your lungs, limiting your ability to take full, deep breaths. When you don't breathe in enough oxygen, you can hinder your ability to concentrate. If you find yourself returning to this position unconsciously, take steps to change this behavior.

Here are a few ways to incorporate standing into your work day...

  • Have walking meetings. One of Steve Jobs' favorite ways to chat with people was by going for a walk. This is for good reason -- walking can increase creativity. It's no wonder why "walk and talk" meetings are taking over Silicone Valley.
  • Invest in a standing desk. To encourage yourself to stand during the day, a standing desk can be a life-saver (literally). Can't afford one? Make one by putting your computer on a box that allows you to stand and type.
  • Set reminders during the day. To form good habits, sometimes you need a little push. By setting daily alarms on your phone or computer to get up out of your seat, you don't have to worry about remembering.

3. Plan your schedule around your energy.

Productivity is inevitably linked to your energy levels. Recognize your strengths and how your energy shifts throughout the day and plan your schedule accordingly. For example, if you're not a morning person, start the day with mundane tasks that do not require much mental acuity like listening to your voicemail or responding to emails. Schedule in-person meetings and time to work on important projects in the afternoon when you're more alert and focused.

Pro-tip: Beyond just managing your schedule around your energy levels, learn to increase your productivity by manipulating your cognitive state through diet, sleep, and supplements.

4. Create incentives for completing tasks.

What distracts you at work? Hunger? Texting? Chatting with coworkers? Rather than let distraction infiltrate your time spent working, use these triggers as incentive to get work done. Set up a system where you allow yourself a short break after completing a task on your to do list. For example: "After I finish this report I'll allow myself a five-minute coffee break". This conditions your brain to look as work in smaller chunks of time, making it more manageable and rewarding.

5. Drink water.

It may sound simple but so many of us automatically reach for coffee first thing in the morning instead. The benefits of drinking water are even more so first thing in the morning. Why? After a 7-9 hour rest, your body is dehydrated. If caffeine is the first thing you put in your body upon waking up, you risk dehydrating yourself even more (since caffeine is a natural diuretic). Dehydration can have some pretty nasty affects: dizziness, sluggishness, confusion, and even fainting. Make sure you not only drink a glass of water during your morning ritual but also incorporate it into your daily routine.